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This information should be read as correct at time of publication: 11 March 2022.
This page was updated on 11 March to reflect new UK Government guidance, and to remove links to older guidance.
The Commons Library does not intend the information on this page to address the specific circumstances of any particular individual. We have published it to support the work of MPs. You should not rely upon it as legal or professional advice, or as a substitute for it. We do not accept any liability whatsoever for any errors, omissions or misstatements contained herein. You should consult a suitably qualified professional if you require specific advice or information. Read our briefing for information about sources of legal advice and help.
The UK Government advises against travel to Ukraine and recommends people in the UK seeking to help those in Ukraine provide cash donations to registered aid organisations and charities.
However, in response to the conflict in Ukraine, many UK aid and community organisations are seeking to arrange the delivery of aid to the country following local goods collections.
This page signposts key sources of information and advice on delivering aid to Eastern Europe from the UK and alternative ways to support Ukraine.
The UK and Polish Embassy in the UK recommend donating cash through trusted organisations
Both the UK Government and Polish Embassy in the UK recommend that people seeking to help Ukrainians provide financial assistance rather than goods donations.
The UK Government argues this will ensure support gets to those who need it most, in the quickest way possible:
One of the best ways to help is by donating cash through trusted charities and aid organisations, rather than donating goods. Cash can be transferred quickly to areas where it is needed and individuals and aid organisations can use it to buy what is most needed. Unsolicited donations of goods, although well-meant, can obstruct supply chains and delay more urgent life-saving assistance from getting through. […]
Charities with experience of responding to disasters are best placed to reach victims on the ground.
The Polish Embassy in the UK has also urged people to organise fundraising and donations to registered organisations rather than sending further supplies:
We call on everyone wishing to help not to organise further collections of in-kind donations […]
We encourage everyone wishing to help to organise fundraisers and direct donations of funds to verified organisations that will use the funds received for assistance provided in accordance with the strict needs and effective operation in the long term.
The UK Government advises against all travel to Ukraine
The Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office currently advises against all travel to Ukraine due to the security situation in the country.
The UK Government provides two helplines:
- Export Support Service to answer questions on exporting to Europe atUK/ask-export-support-team or by calling 0300 303 8955
- HM Revenue & Customs provide a general helpline on imports, exports and customs relief, both online and on telephone: 0300 322 9434
Are there any easements in place to transport aid?
On the UK side
In the UK Parliament, the Government has been asked what steps it is taking to support those seeking to deliver aid to the region. In response, it has said that:
- Business and individuals must comply with UK export and import rules, and those of the importing country
- It advises people to donate cash through trusted charities and humanitarian partners, rather than donating goods.
On 10 March 2022, HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) published details on customs easements now in place to make it easier to move aid and donations to help people in Ukraine (provided they are not exported to, or through, Russia or Belarus). In summary:
Businesses, charities and community organisations sending aid from British ports will be able to make a customs declaration by speaking to customs officers or simply by the act of driving through a port.
They will no longer need to complete and submit electronic customs declarations to HMRC before exporting these goods, and smaller movements will not need to use the Goods Vehicle Movement Service to pass through ports where it is in operation.
The easement will also remove other customs formalities, such as needing to notify HMRC when the goods have been exported.
The Gov.UK page, Taking humanitarian aid out of Great Britain to support Ukraine provides full guidance on the easements currently in place and what goods are eligible for this process.
In the European Union
On 5 March 2022, the Dutch Embassy in the UK said that the customs process has been simplified between the UK and the Netherlands:
Customs procedures in the Netherlands have been temporarily simplified for humanitarian aid to #Ukraine for goods arriving from the UK. Humanitarian relief goods are now treated as non-commercial goods, so that they can be transported without delay.
Details were published by the Dutch Customs service the same day, stating that humanitarian goods can be presented by declaration if they are to be made available free of charge to victims of the Ukrainian conflict. The Dutch customs information line + 31 45 574 30 31 (charges apply) may be able to provide further information.
What is the situation on the Ukrainian border?
As stated above, the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) advises against all travel to Ukraine, and that no attempts to cross the border should be made.
The FCDO also advise against all travel to Transnistria, in Moldova, on its border with Ukraine.
Individuals may instead choose to deliver goods to countries neighbouring Ukraine.
In terms of readying goods to enter Ukraine, the county’s Government have said Ukraine’s Territorial Defence Leadership will determine what varieties of goods are needed for humanitarian purposes. The Customs and Border Services have simplified customs procedures.
How can individuals help?
The UK Government recommends that those in the UK seeking to help in Ukraine consider:
- Donating money to the Disasters Emergency Committee Ukraine appeal
- Donating cash rather than goods. Cash can be transferred quickly and to experienced organisations on the ground.
- Making a safe donation to registered charities who have launched appeals. A charity’s name and registration number can be checked at:
- Charity Commission, Search the charity register (England & Wales)
- Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator, Search the register
- Charity Commission for Northern Ireland, Search the register
The UK Government’s Ukraine: What you can do to help provides more.
Information for charities across the UK
- For England and Wales, the Charity Commission has published a statement on the Ukraine crisis and its implications for charities, signposting to relevant guidance.
- OSCR (the Scottish Charity Regulator) has published new guidance for Scottish charities: “Ukraine: What should charities do in response to the war?”
- The Charity Commission for Northern Ireland has offered advice to charities in Northern Ireland wishing to help in the crisis and for those who have set up an appeal and begun to fundraise.
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